Any day on a bike is a good day

Bike Tribes (Cover)

Whether you have read Bike Tribes, by Mike Magnuson, or not, chances are you have observed that there many different types of bicyclists. Magnuson has in fact identified about 20 groupings of bicyclists, and he argues convincingly that we need to respect each other, as well as motorists and pedestrians, and learn to get along.

My point from what he writes is that it really doesn’t matter what kind of bicycle you might want to ride. No one of them is better than the other, if it is doing what the rider wants it to do. A little child on a shiny red trike is perfectly happy. A chic city girl riding in heels on her way to work would never ride a bicycle if the only thing available were a clip-equipped road bike. heels on bikeAnd pizza delivery is really not very efficient unless you’re riding a work bicycle. I have no desire to ride a mountain bike at all, but I would have to be blind not to see how much the mountain bike riders love their steeds. Continue reading

Why should anyone else do this?

Two weeks ago, I answered the question “why do I ride?”

On that subject, I have to admit that I am not all that impressive as a cyclist. This week, the Freewheeling Freelancer was added to the open Facebook group, Bicycle Touring Websites. I already knew that there were many cyclists who ride more than I do. I was amazed at how many cyclists of all ages were riding around the world like cancer patient Walter Judson Moore, or toting their young families from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, like the Sathre-Vogel family ( Granted, most are touring (going out and coming home, with work or school suspended), but there are hundreds of cyclists out there who are living on the road, with small children, spouses, pets, etc. And some of them have been out there for years.

Some of them are following this blog, which I find very humbling.

Returning to the theme of why, let’s ask, “Why should anyone else?” Only I am not looking at just the question, “why ride a bicycle?” but the subject of this blog, “why live and work on the road?” Continue reading

Why do I ride?

Sunset was still more than three hours away, but the light was fading fast outside the little window to my room. I shut down my computer, slipped into my bicycle shoes and a rain jacket, and threw my fleece jacket, a scarf and a hat into the pannier. It was still warm, because the clouds had only just rolled in. Continue reading

A time of transition

Florida feels like a lifetime ago, although I was in Jacksonville only last week.

It is too cold here!

It is too cold here!

As I rode to the PACEM rehearsal and concert, I felt like Charlie Brown in the comic strip. On Monday, we had 15-20 cm of powdery snow. Shoveling the driveway, I wondered if the Southern Swing had only been a dream. Only living out of my panniers reminded me that I was still “on the road”. The bounce box from Jacksonville was stuck in the UPS warehouse outside Charlottesville. Continue reading

It’s your turn: how would you like your blog?

Trip update: This is the end of the Southern Swing 2013. Yesterday, I rolled into Charlottesville, Virginia on a Greyhound bus from Jacksonville, Florida. Five months, 4,500 km, five States and dozens of towns, large and small. I promised my son and myself that I would devote a full month to organizing my stuff and the next trip, and that meant being back by 1 March. Today, I am singing a concert with the Oratorio Society of Virginia to benefit PACEM, an interfaith ministry that houses the homeless in our city’s places of worship during the winter months (

It is NOT the end of this blog. Coming up: the Northern Trek 2014. I will be laying out the broad strokes in the coming month, and report out on it as soon as I have something. Posts will continue at 1400 every Saturday. PLEASE CONTINUE READING. Continue reading

Staying in touch on the road.

Trip update: The presentation last Saturday at Florida International University went well, in my humble opinion. The crowd was small, so with all day to cover the topic of running a freelance business, we could answer everyone’s questions in depth without giving up any of the planned material.

ATIF-2014 Management Accounting

These classmates are now also friends.

Sunday, I sang my last service with the choir at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church. Tim Lester and my friends at that church made feel truly welcome. Public worship, especially with music, restores my soul and recalibrates everything for the coming week.

On Monday, I rode to Boca Raton via Fort Lauderdale. An excellent Italian lunch with Rosanna and Tommaso preceded my checking in with Ruth and Robin, who hosted me for two days while I waited for a front to pass. The time allowed me to send out estimates that I had promised, and to start this article. Wednesday, I rode the 146 km to Stuart, almost all on US Route 1, with bike lanes almost the entire distance, a warm sun balanced by cool air.

I am still in the Stuart/Fort Pierce area, hanging with world traveler Josh. For three weeks, I enjoyed warm sunshine. It is turning colder now, but worse is yet to come.

Continue reading

Are we home yet? More pros and cons of living on the road.

Trip update. Still living in Pinecrest, Florida, with my colleague Giovanna and her family. This week has been devoted to preparing for the presentation today at Florida International University. It is called Getting down to business: Management accounting for T&I Professionals. I designed the course to teach break-even analysis and basic organizational skills to any kind of freelancer. I will be presenting on this topic again in Philadelphia in April. Today’s program is an all-day workshop with hands-on exercises. Continue reading

Are We Home Yet? Pros and cons of the freewheeling freelance life.

Trip update: I am in Pinecrest, Florida, a village south of Coral Gables. My host is also a freelance translator, so her family and I have had plenty of time to work in our respective spaces around the house.

Seasons 52

A bicycle kit may get stares in fine restaurants, but it still gets service. Seasons 52 in Coral Gables.

On Saturday, I had dinner with Stefano, another colleague, and his wife Lucia, at Seasons 52 on the Miracle Mile. He has been freelancing on the road for more than 20 years, because his principal activity is missionary work – for which he is not paid. His translation work is their family income. Even without a bicycle, he has certainly proven that he can make a living while travelling to churches and missions all over the world, with and without his family.

Tuesday, another translation job came in, which kept me off my bicycle for two days. As I worked indoors, heavy rain beat on the roof. While I was working, ATIF, the local association of language mediators, invited me to present an all-day workshop at Florida International University, so I will be staying in the Miami area for an extra week. Considering the weather that awaits me up north, I cannot complain!

It is time to take stock of this idea. After four months on the road, how do I feel about it? Continue reading

Money talks: louder, please (or softer).

Trip update: I hated to leave Tampa, but I have people to see and appointments to keep in other cities. Tampa will remain a pleasant memory for the good company and the smooth roads. I really enjoyed running errands and meeting friends. Covering 100 km in a day just seemed so normal in a flat place like Tampa Bay. Continue reading